Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


Dalai Lama Regales Middlebury Crowd with Simple Message: “One Humanity”

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama gave his public talk at Middlebury College today to a crowd of a couple thousand or so people. I had the fortune of being in that crowd. It had been a long time since I was in his presence.

His tour is entitled, Cultivating Hope, Wisdom, and Compassion and more specifically for Middlebury–Finding Common Ground: Ethics for a Whole World.

We are the same human being” he contends. Our physicality, mentality, and emotions–the same. This is the basis for the “Oneness of Humanity.” The problem is that we focus on differences–racial, religious, political, national. All people want the same thing–happiness–and the focus on difference becomes and obstacle to that birthright of happiness.

He encouraged us, as citizens of the United States, the leading country in the world (not without its problems, he laughed), “to work hard” with the privilege that democracy and freedom provide. Instead of goofing off so much, we should be more diligent, he advised. He made the point that America must succeed or the world is in big trouble.

Another deceptively simple message was that “violence was outdated.” Let’s just put violence out of fashion. The alternative, you might be wondering? Dialogue and the investigation of reality. If we can’t see reality clearly, we can’t act clearly. If we let our emotions off the leash, we can’t protect ourselves. Peace requires self-discipline. We own that possibility.

His recommendation is for a secular basis for ethics. As a religious leader, this claim may seem counterintuitive. Yet, its rationale is, again, simple. Secular ethics can be universal–one humanity.

The crowd at Nelson Arena was appreciative, rising to its feet several times. Of course, more important than the wise words His Holiness utterred was how he uttered them–with laughter, much laughter. It seemed clear that he was tired, his voice strained, almost a whisper at times. He’s been all over the Northeast and there’s no sign that he’s stopping soon.

Yet, despite his fatigue, each time he laughed, the arena warmed. That resonant, jocularity is the vehicle of the message. We can all laugh and should probbably do more of that. It seems the world would be less violent place if we were all laughing like that.

I’ll post another entry soon with his answer to questions on prayer, ideology, hospice, spirituality in a material world, and tourism in Tibet. More laughter, wisdom, and insights.



  • http://www.eatingwithgrace.com Anya Hunter

    great descriptions of the talks, the message, the amazing person. thanks for sharing. Anya

Previous Posts

Finding the Fall Line: The Technique of Practice
As I was meditating this morning, I came up with a new practice metaphor. There were times when I was clearly in the flow of my body, very attuned the myriad body sensations and there were other moments where I was somewhere else or trying to manage some aspect of the moment, almost as if I was tryi

posted 10:13:53am Dec. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Prime Time, All the Time
An add for television streaming service Hulu states, "Every minute of every day should be considered prime time." This clever quip has a double meaning. On the one hand, it reflects the tyrannical notion that every experience that we have should be exciting, entertaining, and novel. On the other han

posted 9:31:08am Dec. 08, 2014 | read full post »

Giving Thanks 2014: Still a Lot to be Grateful For
There is not now, nor ever, a shortage of tragic, unjust, and violent events occurring around the world. The news media exploits these events and brings them into our brains 24/7 with an unrelenting insistence. Our nervous systems are vulnerable to these kinds of information. They signal danger and

posted 8:56:43am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Buddhist Icon--Thich Nhat Hanh Recovering in Hospital
Beloved Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) has experienced a severe cerebral hemorrhage and remains in critical condition. He recently had his 88th Birthday. I surmise that he is, along with the Dalai, Lama, one of the two most readily recognized Buddhist figures in the world today. Af

posted 6:27:39am Nov. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Mindfulness with a Capital "M"
A recent Telegraph column asked if mindfulness lives up to its hype. The author, Polly Vernon, predicts that "mindfulness" will be the OED's (Oxford English Dictionary) word of the year. That would not surprise me. She goes on to give a favorable if at first skeptical review of the practice. Having

posted 12:19:27pm Nov. 04, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.